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Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume II

377 — The Prime Minister of New Zealand to General Freyberg

The Prime Minister of New Zealand to General Freyberg

1 April 1944

Following consideration of the United Kingdom and United States Chiefs of Staff's recommendations and negotiations with the American Commander and General Barrowclough in the South Pacific, the Government have decided to withdraw 11,000 men from the 3rd Division by October, the remainder to be retained as a nucleus capable of re-expansion if the reconstitution of the Division for further Pacific operations becomes possible.

The men withdrawn are to be given leave without pay and directed into farming and allied occupations, or to substitute for men in essential industry with farming experience, or to be used as replacements for men in the armed forces who are willing to undertake work on farms.

It will be for consideration whether or not the 2nd Division in whole or in part should return to New Zealand after the fall of Rome or by some specified date. I propose to discuss this matter in London, and when I visit Italy to see you and the men of the Division I hope to have the opportunity to discuss this question with you also.